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Rarotonga – Part 3

By Chelsea McBroom

April 10th, 2014

April 5th was the dreaded day when Pania, the Picton Castle‘s bosun, and Sam, the watch officer, cleaned out their bunks and packed their bags. Their time with the ship was over (for now) and they were signing off in the port of Rarotonga. We went to dinner at Trader Jacks the night before, Pania, Sam, Dirk (the chief mate), Captain John and I, to say thank you to them before they left. Pania and Sam shared their intentions for future adventures. Sam shared his often wild imaginative scenarios like what it would be like to have a small mule or pony to help us aboard – somehow attaching a halyard and bribing it with plates of food on the aloha deck. Pania gave us examples of her bosun temper tantrums, flapping her arms and making weird noises.

I should have been ecstatic because Pania was moving out of her penthouse bunk and I was moving in. This meant a bigger bunk and a porthole for ventilation (and shock when I realized I was one of the longest on board to be given such a bunk). But despite my joy at the new home upgrade, Pania was a goofy sort to have around, the kind that made the simplest of tasks somehow humorous – not to mention that as a bosun she was full of helpful information. It was going to be weird not having her around. I knew the 12-4 would especially miss Sam, the watch officer who called out sailing commands in Norwegian or Danish and who would spend time on the foc’sle head belting out songs as he played his ukulele, and I’m pretty sure the very person behind the American April Fool’s joke.

It’s times like these that one must remember that this is part of the ship life! People leave but it’s never really goodbye and you’ll more than likely see them again. Sometimes people leaving means new people are joining and in this case Gabe and Billy signed on the same day Pania and Sam left. Gabe is our new lead seaman who I first met in Lunenburg in 2012. He made me feel included when I didn’t know anyone and danced around the Dory Shop with me. Billy is our other engineer who sailed the South Pacific last year and is already familiar with crew on board. See?! Crew come back!

Just when you get used to the way things are, something changes and life gets more interesting.

the crew dressed up for a marlinspike party

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